Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose & Nirvana Bourbon ~ fragrance reviews

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose & Nirvana Bourbon

A few years back, I was enjoying cocktails with friends at an upscale, old-school hotel bar on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and I saw one of the “Olsen twins” seated nearby with two older male companions in suits. I was intrigued by the sight of this former child star evolved into a successful entrepreneur, this waif who swathed herself in layers of urban-bohemian black clothing for a meeting with two executive-looking men in such a traditional setting. Her eyeliner was generously applied, yet her demeanor was serious, even somber. It was an interesting set of contrasts.

I’m having a similar response to Nirvana Rose and Nirvana Bourbon, the two new fragrances from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s Elizabeth and James brand. I liked Nirvana Black and Nirvana White, both launched in late 2013 (and followed by matching roll-ons, perfume oil, solid perfume compacts, body oil and dry shampoo), so I was curious about these latest offerings. I’m happy to report that Rose and Bourbon are two more smart fragrances that straddle the line between “grown-up” and “free-spirited”…

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Last Roses of Summer ~ jam recipes

rose 1

As autumn approaches, my garden is preparing for one final flourish before Day of the Dead (in Seattle that’s, aptly, The End…when my last marigolds will succumb to too much damp, the few remaining roses ‘forget’ to open fully, and quince stragglers, brown, soft and vinegary, lie on the ground).

In these late-August days, I’m thinking ahead: I need to make one more batch of fig-leaf syrup (my Desert King fig tree is so happy it’s two stories high, its leaves bigger than my head) and plan this year’s assorted quince treats: savory, sweet and alcoholic. Our Russian quince tree (Aromatnaya) has so much fruit I’ll be donating some to a pig sanctuary and a weed-chomping, underbrush-clearing goat herd. I’ll also make the final batches of rose jam.

I didn’t grow up eating roses…

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The new unisex

But independent perfumers are now bringing back the rose in all its glory, liberating it from the delicate bottles and coquettish reputation to prove that giant, heady rose can be a powerhouse on men and women alike. Rose — the scent of passion, of love, of dulcet longing — is the new unisex.

— Read more at In Fragrance, Rose Is the New Unisex at The New York Times.

Maria Candida Gentile Rrose Selavy ~ fragrance review

Belle Haleine Eau de Voilette

“Rrose Sélavy, the feminine alter ego created by Marcel Duchamp, is one of the most complex and pervasive pieces in the enigmatic puzzle of the artist’s oeuvre. She first emerged in portraits made by the photographer Man Ray in New York in the early 1920s, when Duchamp and Man Ray were collaborating on a number of conceptual photographic works. Rrose Sélavy lived on as the person to whom Duchamp attributed specific works of art, Readymades, puns, and writings throughout his career. By creating for himself this female persona whose attributes are beauty and eroticism, he deliberately and characteristically complicated the understanding of his ideas and motives.” 1

The name “Rrose Sélavy,” interpreted/translated in at least two ways: “Eros, c’est la vie” (eros, that’s life) and “Arroser la vie” (to drink to life or, more sensually, to moisten life, as in arousal), is niche perfumer Maria Candida Gentile’s toast to Marcel Duchamp and his female (drag) creation, Rrose Sélavy. As perfume inspirations go, it’s intriguing and FUN — just like Gentile’s Elephant & Roses idea…

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Grace by Grace Coddington ~ fragrance review

Grace Coddington drawing

Way back in 2009, my friend A. and I went to see “The September Issue,” a documentary film about Vogue magazine and its influential (and infamous) editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour. If you’d grabbed me on the way out of the theater and asked me to review the film in one line, I’d have said, “Go for Anna, but stay for Grace.” Grace Coddington, creative director of Vogue, was the movie’s surprise star — she impressed us with her imagination and her commitment to her work and she reminded us why we’re bewitched and inspired by fashion despite ourselves.

Coddington (now Vogue’s Creative Director at Large) has just collaborated with Comme des Garçons on a fragrance called Grace by Grace Coddington. This scent was inspired by Coddington’s “love of English roses”…

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